Reps decry huge revenue losses, undocumented cargoes at ports

Reps decry huge revenue losses, undocumented cargoes at ports

The House of Representatives on Wednesday unveiled plans to investigate the activities of Nigeria Shippers Council over allegations concerning unabated smuggling and illicit trade, resulting in significant financial losses costing the country billions of naira due to the lack of accurate data and revenue leakage at the nation’s ports.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion sponsored by Hon. Ahmad Sani Muhammad, who called for the House intervention following a reported case of non-implementation of International Cargo Tracking Notes.

In his lead debate, Muhammad observed that Nigerian ports handle nearly 60% of Gulf of Guinea cargo, making them the primary destination in West and Central Africa, underscoring the importance of the International Cargo Tracking Notes.

“The House also notes that the cases of undocumented cargo in seaports pose security and efficiency challenges, perpetuating fraud and insecurity arising from the concealment of cargo manifests, leading to a lack of reliable data that leads to revenue loss for the nation.

“The House is aware that the Union of African Shippers Councils (UASC) introduced the International Cargo Tracking Notes (ICTN) in 1998 as a measure to enhance the safety and security of supply chain facilities, track the origin and destination of cargo, and provide reliable data on imports and exports.

“The House is also aware that the International Cargo Tracking Notes (ICTN) technology centralizes tamper-proof information, improves monitoring, and prevents illegal activities like smuggling and counterfeiting, aligning with World Trade Organization (WTO) and World Customs Organization (WCO) recommendations on trade facilitation and security.

“The House is concerned that the measure has not been fully implemented in Nigeria due to alleged irregularities despite the presence of the Nigeria Shippers Council as the implementing authority, aiming for transparency and efficiency.

“The House is worried that non-implementation has led to increased cargo-related security challenges, such as smuggling and illicit trade, resulting in significant financial losses costing the country billions of naira due to the lack of accurate data and revenue leakage.”

After the debate, the House mandated its Committee on Shipping Services and Ports and Harbors to investigate the circumstances surrounding the non-implementation of the International Cargo Tracking Notes, identify any obstacles or challenges faced by the Nigeria Shippers Council in carrying out its role effectively, and report back within six weeks for further legislative action.

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